Grandparent's Guide to Safe BB Gun Backstops

Transforming your garage or basement into a safe place to train gun safety with pellet guns is easy ... here's how.

posted on August 29, 2022
Homemade Pellet Trap Dvorchak

As I described in a recent article, Grandparent’s Guide to Teaching Gun Safety, I repurposed my garage as a BB gun range to introduce my grandkids to safe shooting. One critical part of that is creating a safe backstop, otherwise known as a pellet trap. Pellet guns aren’t toys, and the projectiles can penetrate skin as well as ricochet off certain hard surfaces, so if you’re shooting indoors, backstops are important. The good news is it’s actually quite simple and inexpensive to construct a backstop out of things you have lying around your house! (Keep in mind that this only applies to lower-powered BB guns, not rimfire or centerfire firearms, and that you and your grandkids should be wearing eye protection at all times.)

Making a practical year-round pellet range in my garage did require some experimentation. Eventually, the right frame appeared in the form of the box in which a steel firepit I’d purchased was delivered. That box, which measured roughly 3’x3’x1, was the perfect size and depth. Why the huge box? As parents and grandparents, we know shooters sometimes miss the mark! With a child in training that goes double.

Now it was time to pack the box with some time-tested BB stoppers. I broke down some other boxes to get layers of cardboard. I started with two 2 layers of cardboard, then two old towels, then repeated this until the box was packed full. To add effectiveness, I used 2” Gorilla Tape to tightly pull it together. Then I shot at the center with a pellet rifle … and nothing emerged out the back. Success! After a few more test shots, it was ready to be secured on a 2-foot-high platform in the corner of my garage. This worked well, but then I saw how the front of my box was getting torn up, so I made more improvements.

I decided that what I needed was not one box, but three. I took two smaller boxes (one 2’x2’ and one 17”x22”) and created a “Russian nesting doll” arrangement. Each of the smaller boxes I packed with heavy cardboard and an old towel, then secured it with wide Gorilla Tape to the front of the large box. The old heavy towel slows down the pellet, but doesn’t cause any to bounce out the front. Done!

Here is a tip about targets. These I made by putting a ½-inch black circle in the center of a piece of paper, along with places for data as to gun, pellet, shooter, etc., then I photocopied it. I also made other targets with the center being 3/4 inch, 1-inch, 2 inches and upwards. Using scoped air guns, the grandkids get much better groups out of the target with the smallest dot. My special Pappy sense tells me that it’s because the small dot makes them concentrate. Good luck … and those kids will always appreciate you taking the time to safely train them.


Hiss Hiss This Is Snek
Hiss Hiss This Is Snek

Launching 2023: Colt King Cobra .22LR

The fangs may be slimmer, but the strike just as accurate.

Top 4 Ways to Carry a Binocular

Quality glass is a boon to a hunter—but what's the best way to keep your bino handy?

NRA-Backed Constitutional Carry Introduced in Florida

Once signed into law, more than half of the nation will recognize this fundamental right.

10 Range-Bag Must-Haves (You Didn't Know You Needed)

Does every one of these suggestions have a hard-luck story behind it? Maybe...

Launching 2023: Caldwell Claymore

Solo clays practice doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive, as Caldwell and contributor Frank Melloni prove.

Save Your Spine: How to Pack a Backpack

Here's how to carry everything you need without hurting your back.


Get the best of NRA Family delivered to your inbox.